Singer/songwriter Sia said she’s “part of the problem” for casting white women in her movie, which she says came at the behest of executives.
Speaking on a panel at the Sundance Film Festival, Sia said that when she originally cast “Hamilton” star Leslie Odom Jr. in one role for her movie “Music,” executives warned her that if she cast a black female opposite Odom Jr., the movie would then be considered a “black movie.”
“I thought it was gross,” Sia said, as reported by UPI.
Sia recalled being warned that the movie would be “put in a different category.”
“It won’t be commercial, it won’t be mainstream,” executives allegedly told her.
Sia ultimately regrets succumbing to the pressure of listening to “a lot of white men.”
“I just tried to listen to anybody who had any experience in the business,” Sia said. “Looking back, I guess that was a lot of white men.”
“I’m part of the problem, not the solution,” she asserted. “I’m learning, you know? Next time, I’ll cast whoever I want.”
Sia said she learned of the black experience after adopting her two 18-year-old black sons in 2019.
“They’re teaching me,” she said. “I just listen.”
In the wake of massive Black Lives Matter protests across the nation last year, Hollywood celebrities have been increasingly demanding that the industry create more opportunities for black talent. Michael B. Jordan, who played Killmonger in Marvel’s “Black Panther,” called on Hollywood to “commit to black hiring,” demanding they invest in “black staff” and focus on black stories.
“I want us to invest in black staff,” said Jordan. “I’m proud to have an inclusion rider and all that good stuff and I use my power to demand diversity, but it’s time the studios and agencies — all the agencies, all these buildings that we’re standing in front of … do the same.”
“You committed to a 50/50 gender parity in 2020, where is the challenge to commit to black hiring?” Jordan added. “Black content led by black executives, black consultants. Are you policing our storytelling as well?”
Going forward, Jordan called on the industry to shine more light on the discrimination that black cultural leaders have faced.
“So let us bring our darkness to the light. Black culture. The sneakers, sports, comedic culture that you guys love so much — we’ve dealt with discrimination at every turn. Can you help fund black brands, companies, cultural leaders, black organizations?” Jordan continued. “A great agent doesn’t have to be a great organizer, but a great agent could advocate for relationships with organizers. Will you support a non-profit that’s working to solve problems of our industry, that our industry created?”
Rapper Ice Cube even went as far as to say that Hollywood owes black people reparations for its past participation in America’s racism.
“Virtually all the studios who contributed in our narrative, in our pain, in our misrepresentation, in stealing our history and giving it to white people for over a 100 years, so I think these studios that we know and love should kick in to a studio that’s ran by black people with no outside influences, and whose movies and projects are owned by those black people,” Ice Cube said on “The Breakfast Club.”
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